How to identify if marketing funnel automation is worth doing

by: Kevin Williams 23/03/2017 Categories: marketing

If you are into your marketing, then there are so many tactics you could try. Some will work for you and some will not….it all depends on your target audience, your service or product & a host of many other factors.

Once you have narrowed down to a ‘hit list’ of appropriate tactics, the worst thing you can do is to pontificate over which one might work or not, and never get around to doing anything. So with that in mind we decided to try out an in depth marketing funnel automation series for ourselves here at Servon HQ.

The idea of automating a part of our marketing and setting something up and letting it run its course is quite appealing and intriguing. The concept is that we take our big data list - feed it into an automation funnel - and out the other end pops a number of potential customers that are showing signs of 'buying signals'.

Marketing Automation Funnel Strategy

So sounds simple…right! Let me tell you what we found out.

So here is what we wanted to do...our big objective.

We wanted to send out a series of emails (four in total) with the ultimate goal of enticing people to register for a FREE strategy session with us.

Preparation

First job was to collect our data in one place.

We started with our core newsletter email list, and added email addresses from our gmail contacts, linkedIn contacts and a pile of business cards collected from a number of networking events. Once compiled we were able to import the list. All ready to go

Logic and Strategy

Next job was to think about the strategy and logic behind what we were wanting to do, and how this might play out over a period of time.

Marketing Automation Strategy

In simplistic terms, and if people did what they were supposed to do then the process would be something like:

  1. Person receives first email and clicks on link
  2. Person lands on Landing Page and downloads a PDF ‘guide’ containing high value content
  3. Person receives Follow up email (trust building)
  4. Person receives second Follow up email (further trust building)
  5. Person receives Final email message - and clicks on link to book a FREE strategy session

Simple! IF people do what they are supposed to do, then it's pretty easy.

The problem is that not many people do what they are supposed to do...so that where the complications start coming in.

We get issues like:

  1. Person does not open first email
  2. Person opens first email...but does not click through to Landing page
  3. Person opens first email, and even clicks through to landing page...but they don't click on link to download the Highly valuable guide.

This is where setting out the logic of the automation system requires a bit of thought. What we did was dive straight into the software and built the logic on the fly as we went. In hindsight, what we should have done is sketch out the logic first, sit back and think about for a while, and then refine it.

What we also found is that setting the logic in the software was not as easy as we initially thought it was going to be. If you don’t know the terminology, then this can be confusing.

What is important is setting up campaign goals so that the automation flow is intuitive and allows a contact to be moved into the next automation sequence. Setting goals also becomes really important when you run a campaign report after the campaign automation has run its course.

The creative, the copy and the value

There are numerous posts (See Neil Patel's post) about how important headlines and copy are, so we won't get into that here. Needless to say that Headlines and ‘Voice’ used for the copy are critical, and should be aimed with your target audience in mind.

For the giveaway we decided we would offer downloadable PDF guide called “3 Steps to Website Success”. The guide outlined a process to help people get more customers online through their website. We wanted to offer as much value as we could in the guide so that people who did download it, would at least find it useful information.

Email Automation Creative Design

The email series we put together were clear, concise and easy to read, and above all kept really simple. The subject lines were designed to build upon a story.

Below is the copy we used for each email

Subject 1 - “3 Steps to Website Success

Hello name

We are offering a fantastic FREE guide for those of you that really see their website as tool for doing more business in 2017.

You can download your copy by clicking on the button below.

I hope you read it right away, because I promise you this: once you've gone through these 3 steps, you're going to have a much better idea about how to succeed online.

It's a quick read, so I suggest having a look now if you've got the time. Otherwise it's likely to get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list and I'd hate for that to happen.

Go ahead and enjoy the 3 Steps at the button above

Thanks again
• • •
P.S. I'd love to hear from you. If you'd like, reply to this email and let me know if you have any questions about the 3 Steps.

Subject 2 - “How did you enjoy the 3 Steps?

Hello again,

A couple of days ago you downloaded 3 Steps to Website Success.

I hope you've had a chance to go through it, because it contains a simple process that I sincerely feel will have a big impact on the way you do business online.
• • •
If you HAVE been through the document, then I bet you're feeling one of two things.

Either you're excited to start getting more customers online - or you're totally confused about where to begin.

Perfectly understandable in either case. At Servon we've seen our fair share of both.

But if you're like most business owners, there's probably one other thing you're feeling right now… That creeping dread that you're about to get a sales pitch for a new website.

Let me put you at ease right now.

I promise I'm NOT trying to sell you a new site.

In fact, a new website is the absolute LAST thing you should be thinking about right now.
I'll explain why tomorrow...Talk to you soon,
Kevin Williams - Servon
T: 01189 326547

Subject 3 - “Why I won’t sell you a new website

Hello again,

In my last email I talked about what business owners usually feel after reading the 3 Steps to Website Success. But I also mentioned I wasn't going to sell you a new website, remember?
• • •
Here's why…
When you read the 3 Steps (here's the link again if you want to follow along) you learned the importance of identifying your ideal customer, figuring out how to talk to them, and then driving more of them to your site.

Maybe you've got a problem in one of those areas. Maybe all three.
Maybe you DO need a new website and maybe you don't.

But the thing is…

I have no idea what you actually need and how could I? We haven't even talked, much less gotten to the heart of what's holding you and your business back.

It's THAT process that these emails are all about…
But I'll tell you more about that in my next (and final) message.

See you next time... talk to you soon,
Kevin Williams - Servon
T: 01189 326547
• • •
P.S. Of course if you really can't wait, you're welcome to email me for details. Reply to this message and I'll spill the beans.

Subject 4 - “Yours for the asking: a free strategy session

Hello again,

Thank you for reading this series over the last few days.

So far you've learned that the 3 Steps to Website Success are a great place to start if you're serious about putting your site to work for you.

And we discussed how I'm NOT going to try to sell you a new website, because to do so would be premature and a waste of both your time and mine.
• • •
However, I WOULD like to offer you something so we can see whether or not it makes sense to discuss anything else.

That something is a free strategy session.

In a half-hour phone meeting, we'll take a quick look at your business. We'll work through some quick questions about your audience, try to get an idea of who your best customer is, and discuss ways you might be able to reach them.

That's right - the 3 Steps in action. And a free strategy session to discuss them is yours for the asking.

But listen… in case you still think this is all a veiled sales pitch, here's another promise it's not. No, I'm not even going to try to sell you a website after your strategy session!

So to review, your strategy session is totally free… and when we're done there will be absolutely no obligation to keep talking to me if you don't want to.

You've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain... including a deeper insight into your business, and a better sense of where you want to go.

The 3 Steps are critical to doing business in 2017 and beyond, and the world needs more people running great businesses… which is why I want to help you get the 3 Steps right. If that sounds like something you'd like to do, reply to this email or give me a call and we'll schedule your strategy session right away.

Until then, thanks again for reading, and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Kevin Williams - Servon
T: 01189 326547
• • •
P.S. I really hope you do take me up on the offer of a free strategy session. I'll say it again—it costs nothing, and you'll be under absolutely no obligation to keep talking to me when we're finished. Schedule yours today

So how did it all go? And what did we find out?

  1. The data we used was not up to scratch. The initial list we had was quite a dormant list and had not been communicated with on a regular basis (nurturing). It also contained email addresses that were no longer active, causing quite a number of bounced emails. The emails we imported from gmail, LinkedIn etc, had not really been communicated with in the right way, so we're not a great fit for the message sent out. The data we imported in manually from business cards seemed to work quite well (they were both current and relevant).
    Lesson: To have a chance of an automated campaign working the data needs to be reasonably recent.
  2. We initially made mistakes where we set up multiple automations, and on completion of one automation then moved contacts into another. By doing this, and not setting goals within the automation, we were not easily able to report...it was very fragmented.
  3. A/B split testing on subject lines would have given us further options when it comes to reporting.
  4. In the end we had 3.84% of our list follow the email series all the way through, BUT not one strategy call.

Conclusion

If email automation is a marketing tactic you are thinking of, then the biggest takeaway is to make sure your data is absolutely solid, fresh, relevant and segmented. Keep your creative and copy simple. Plan the desired outcome and really think about every stage of the communication.